What a World Cup tournament it has been! Upsets galore with the underdog not an afterthought anymore, some brilliant attacking football with more sides willing to lay it all on the line, controversies (of course) and the vagaries of the new VAR system, and the global showcase of football comes to an end today with the final a scarce few would have predicted.
The 64th and most important game of the tournament will feature France (who despite their ridiculous talent levels were not a sexy pick to win) and Croatia (also despite their thin but talented and experienced squad) - just for reference, you could have gotten 33/1 odds on Croatia to win the World Cup just a month ago.
HOW TO WATCH, STREAM 2018 WORLD CUP
Matchup: France vs. Croatia
Date: 11th July 2018
Time: 8 AM PST, 11 AM EST, 4 PM BST
Venue: Luzhniki Stadium (Moscow)
TV Channels: Fox, Telemundo, NBCSN, BBC, ITV
Streaming: Telemundo (Spanish), fubo.TV (free trial)
Aside from that though, just enjoy the game and the celebration of football - it would be wise to temper your expectations if you’re hoping to see 22 goals like yesterday!
The final will be held at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, opened in 1956 with a capacity of 80,000. The match ball is the Telstar 2018, a modern interpretation of the iconic Telstar used from 1970-74, based on a similar carcass to the 2014 Brazuca.
France’s manager is Didier Deschamps. Now 49, he had a distinguished career as a defensive midfielder scoring 4 goals in 103 caps for Les Bleus, and lifted the 1998 World Cup on home soil and the 2000 European Championship as well.
Croatia boss Zlatko Dalic is 51 and was also a defensive midfielder, but never featured internationally. He was previously an assistant coach for the Croatia Under-21 team before taking over the senior side in 2017.
France has had the better of Croatia, with three wins and two draws head-to-head. This is their third ever final, having won in 1998 and lost in 2006.
Croatia’s key men Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic simply do not lose finals - Modric is unbeaten in his last ten, while Rakitic as won his last seven on the trot. They’ve also had to come back to win every one of their knockout games, the first time that has ever been done.
Goals scored: France 10, Croatia 12
Goals against: France 4, Croatia 5
Total shots: France 75, Croatia 100
Shots on target: France 24, Croatia 26
Passes completed: France 2,331, Croatia 2,757
Corners: France 19, Croatia 34
Possession: France 49%, Croatia 54%
Top Scorers: FRA: Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann – 3; CRO: Mario Mandzukic, Ivan Perisic, Luka Modric – 2